The Philosophy of “Game of Thrones”

The global popularity of “Game of Thrones” can be partly ascribed to the many themes raised throughout the eight seasons of the American television series. Behind the first veil of medieval fantasy lurk the ghosts of Hobbes and Machiavelli and their depiction of political power as the deadliest game of chess imaginable. To conquer the ultimate position of power is one thing, but to exercise authority over a long period of time proves a tremendous challenge for the heroes of ...

Democracy and Mediocrity

Friedrich Nietzsche was particularly contemptuous of the mediocrity which, in his view, prevailed among his contemporaries. His philosophical ideal of individuals knowing themselves so thoroughly that they were able to soar above the rest of the human ‘herd’ has become offensive to our modern conception of democracy and equality. But what if democracy was inherently and inescapably a breeding ground for a type of feckless, navel-gazing individuals, wallowing in their self-confessed limitations while enjoying the benefits of a benevolent state? Nietzsche’s ...

Newton and his 3rd Law

A quick comment about this law – arguably the most complex of the three laws. My experience is that teachers often present Newton’s Laws in the way the books normally state them. This is something along the lines of … Newton’s 1: An object will move in a straight line at constant speed unless acted on by an external force. Newton’s 2: If an external unbalanced force acts upon an object, the unbalanced force will produce a rate of change of momentum and ...

“Raising awareness of world issues” – The pitfalls (Concepts and Exhibition)

Conceptually speaking, the trouble with 'raising awareness' of world issues in your visual arts exhibition is that in most cases, awareness has already been raised, and examiners will probably have seen your video of ice melting - or a person swimming with plastic bottles, or a collage made of rubbish, or a Photoshopped photo of chimneys belching smoke, or cars polluting with their exhaust fumes, or oil pouring into the ocean etc - many times before. Conceptual qualities mean you ...

Why so generous? – IA predictions

By Wednesday, July 3, 2019 No tags 0

(i.e. why are the marks awarded by teachers for the visual arts IA component – the Exhibition – sometimes wildly unrealistic?) A group of IA moderators were chatting about their experiences in the last examination session. One moderator posed the question: why are some teachers so generous with their marks? Here are some of the ideas that surfaced relating to the different issues involved. 1 MISUNDERSTANDING GLOBAL STANDARDS This is probably the biggest cause of inaccurate teacher marks. Some teachers may not understand what the ...

Is New Realism all that new?

Markus Gabriel is the new rising star of German Philosophy with the success of his book ‘Why the World does not Exist’, first published in 2013, a year after Maurizio Ferraris’s ‘Manifesto for a New Realism’. The thirty-nine year old Professor invites his reader to reconsider the question already raised in 1986 by Thomas Nagel in his stimulating ‘Views From Nowhere’: ‘How to combine the perspective of a particular person inside the world with an objective view of that same ...

Two issues with curatorial rationales

As an IA (Exhibition) moderator I very often read a) eloquent and frequently passionate curatorial rationales that do not achieve the mark that perhaps the student expected, and  b) rationales that are not eloquent, but instead tend to be convoluted, frustrating and impenetrable. Here are some tips in relation to these two issues that you might want to pass on to your students when they go about writing their curatorial rationales: a) rationales that do not achieve the mark that perhaps the student expected This is about assessment: ...

Michel Serres. Messenger of Knowledge

The world of philosophy has lost one of its most popular figures with the death of Michel Serres on June 1st. First attracted to a career in the French Navy, the young officer soon realised that philosophy was his true passion along with mathematics and the history of science. On the strength of his eclectic philosophical knowledge, he went on to elaborate a five-volume theory of communication under the aegis of Hermes, the Greek god of trade and commerce. Like the ...

Colorimetry

I love carrying out colorimetry, it is one of my favorite types of labs to carry out and I do believe that as teachers, it is a really underused type of lab and undervalued type of lab. I always teach the theory first, covering the ideas behind the Beer-Lambert Law and the way that a colorimeter works. We will usually start off by getting the class to make up standard solutions of copper sulfate (0.1 mol dm-3 to 1.0 mol dm-3 ...

Theatre and Mindfulness

This month in the UK there is a focus on wellbeing and mental health, which of course links to mindfulness, which is what many schools are embracing as part of their Advisory programmes. Soon I am going to be running a workshop in my local community on wellbeing and creativity, so I have been reading up about creative mindfulness. The blog this month is going to share some mindfulness exercises that you can try out with your students, but I ...